Two weeks ago today was my first day home from the hospital. Quick refresher – I went in on Sunday with what we thought was a bowel obstruction. On Tuesday I was diagnosed with Primary Peritoneal Cancer, on Wednesday I had my first chemo treatment and went home that night (after gracefully losing my balance and diving face first into the portable blood pressure cart basket). Then last week I had a horrible experience with my first infusion at the center – couldn’t breathe, blood pressure spike, bright red face… Scary. So maybe this week was “normal”? Nope not so much…
On Saturday I developed a dry cough, had a little fever, and didn’t feel great. On Monday I went for my bloodwork appointment and asked about my cough (still had a small fever and because of other symptoms they did a test for Urinary Tract Infection). They were not so concerned about the cough since I had previously had some fluid on my lungs. They said the nurse could listen on Wednesday during my treatment. That evening the nurse called to confirm that I had a UTI (great!). While on the phone, she heard me cough a few times and didn’t like it. She was concerned about a potential blood clot in my lung. Rather than go to the emergency room she scheduled me for a chest CT scan on Tuesday morning. Tuesday – CT scan at a Northside building, then across the parking lot to my doctors office, and from there a wheelchair ride through an underground tunnel to the oncology ward for admission. Even though 9 times out of 10 it isn’t a clot, I was now in the 10% because I had a small clot. Apparently cancer patients have a higher risk of clots – something about the blood and coagulation changes once you’ve had a tumor.
They made it sound like I would be there a few days. I had an ultrasound on my legs to check for other clots (most originate in the legs), and they started me on a blood thinner (heparin). I had no clots in my legs and by the next day, my blood had been appropriately thinned to take me out of danger. So I had my chemo treatment (no issues!) and was sent home (yay!).
However I now have 2 new routines added to my life, neither of them pleasant. Twice a day, I (actually Dara) have to inject myself with a drug to thin my blood. The injections aren’t that big of a deal although it’s a pretty good burn for 5-10 minutes. The truly joyful new part of my life is the support hose to help prevent any clots in my legs. I am to wear them every day but can take them off to sleep (hey thanks). I remember my grandmother had to wear them but I thought they were like tight knee highs. Not these. I can only describe these as individual Spanx for each leg (and really only the women will truly get this). They go from the base of my toes to my hip. It took Dara and I a good 30 minutes to get them on me this morning. They come with a little nylon foot cover you put on just so you can get it over your foot to start. That should have been our first clue. We finally found that me in a chair with my leg up over my head where Dara could really yank it over my foot was the only way to start the process. It was like squeezing a basketball into a child’s sock only harder. You really couldn’t pause anywhere along the way because the bunched up part would cut off the circulation and you couldn’t easily grab it again and start pulling. So it became this bouncing, tugging, and screaming exercise from a variety of different positions. And you know what happens when you’re working really hard at something? You sweat. Yeah that didn’t help – ever try to put on a bathing suit while you’re wet? It’s similar.
On the plus side, I can easily pretend my legs are this tan and without any trace of cellulite so there’s that. Today I started losing my hair, so it’ll be good to be that bald lady with the super hot legs.
I am hopeful that I can get into some kind of pattern and have some normal weeks ahead. It was nice that they all remembered me as “that girl who fell into the basket” at Northside but I don’t want to be a frequent patient.